Just an Hour From Osaka! 7 Superb Restaurants for Ramen in Okayama
Okayama Prefecture looks out towards Japan’s largest inland sea, the Seto Inland Sea (Seto-naikai), and is associated with the character Momotaro (Peach Boy) from an old Japanese folktale. It’s a prefecture that is steeped in history, and has many sightseeing spots like Okayama Castle (Okayama-jo) and Korakuen, where you can enjoy a traditional Japanese garden. Also, there are many restaurants that serve delicious noodle dishes like ramen, soba, and udon. From the many options available, this article introduces some restaurants where you can eat superb ramen that can only be found in Okayama. If you’re going sightseeing here, try some of these top-class restaurants!
Jun 07 2018 (Sep 09 2020)
1. Men-ya Daisuke [Tsuyama]
Men-ya Daisuke is a ramen restaurant that’s so popular, there’s always a queue. This relatively small restaurant has counter and table seating, with a maximum capacity of just 15 people.
The Tonkotsu Ramen With Egg and Broiled Meat (1,000 yen) here is known for its soup that is easy to drink. It lacks the strong smell associated with tonkotsu (pork bone stock). The deliciously oily char siu (roast pork) and the sweetness of the soft-boiled egg help to draw out even more of the tonkotsu flavor.
This is the Shio Ramen With Egg and Broiled Meat (1,000 yen). It comes in a soup made from chicken bones and seafood. The noodles are fine and easy to eat. It’s recommended that you try adding some yuzu (a type of Japanese citrus) pepper. For those who don’t like eggs or broiled meat, you can also order it without the toppings.
2. Menya Gakucho [Shiroshita Station]
Menya Gakucho is a ramen restaurant located around a 2-minute walk from Shiroshita Station on the tram line. It is housed inside a long building and feels like a fancy restaurant. Even a lone diner would feel comfortable eating here.
Their signature dish, Gakucho Ramen (850 yen), is known for its clear salty soup. It’s unbelievably flavorful with a mild taste, and it has the refreshing sensation of yuzu as well. It’s a special soup that the owner simmers for 5 hours, and is incredibly delicious. In addition to that, their Dashi Tonkotsu Ramen (700 yen) has many fans. It’s a fine dish with a perfect combination of thin noodles and tonkotsu.
Furthermore, their All Top Ramen (1,518 yen) contains everything that a ramen lover could ever wish for and is worth trying at least once. The meaty char siu comes in a tower-like arrangement and brings out the umami (Japanese savory taste) of the soup. You can choose from 3 flavors: soy sauce-based chicken soup, salty chicken soup, or dashi (broth) tonkotsu soup.
3. Ottsuan Ramen [Kasaoka]
Ottsuan Ramen is a ramen restaurant that has a working-class atmosphere that anyone would feel comfortable in. Autographs of famous people who have visited the restaurant decorate the walls inside. Children aged 5 and under are not allowed, so take note if you’re going there with children.
Their standard Soy Sauce Ramen (680 yen) is made with a soy sauce-based chicken bone soup. It has a strong shoyu (soy sauce) flavor that goes extremely well with the thin noodles. The chicken char siu is also steeped in flavor! It is an excellent chicken ramen dish.
Their Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen (680 yen) is another unmissable item. The soup has a rich and deep flavor, is extremely delicious, and again, goes great with the noodles.
4. Yamafuji Hon-cho Branch [Okayama]
In a convenient location, just about a 3-minute walk from Okayama Station, the ramen at Yamafuji is something you have to try if you visit Okayama. Since it’s open until 2:00 AM, it’s popular among tourists as well.
Yamafuji Hon-cho Branch is famous for their Negi Chuka (750 yen), which comes with heaps of green onion on top. There’s so much green onion, you can’t even see the noodles underneath! Enjoy their crisp texture! It uses a tonkotsu and shoyu-based soup, which is a perfect match for the thin noodles that Okayama is known for. If you feel like there is too many noodles, you can ask for a half-sized portion. Even those with a small apetite can enjoy the ramen here.
Also, you should definitely try the Tempura Chuka (750 yen), which comes with tempura of geso (squid arms). The tempura soaks up the soup, giving it an addictive flavor.
5. Yamato [Shiroshita Station]
Yamato, which is located within walking distance from Shiroshita Station, is not a ramen restaurant. It is actually a yoshoku (Japanese-style Western cuisine) restaurant. The cute, brickwork exterior makes it look like a yoshoku restaurant of the past. Though all of their omelets and other Western-style dishes are delicious, the restaurant became popular for their ramen.
The first dish worth recommending is the Chuka Soba (L: 880 yen, M: 730 yen, S: 520 yen)”. It is the most popular dish in the restaurant. The soup, which has been passed down since 1948, is not shoyu or tonkotsu-based, but is made with dashi taken from ingredients like kombu (kelp) and bonito flakes. Enjoy the nostalgic Japanese flavor that it imparts!
You should also try the Demi Katsu-don (L: 930 yen, M: 780 yen, S: 520 yen). Katsu-don is a Japanese dish where rice is topped with a pork cutlet and arranged in a bowl (don). It’s a dish that the restaurant is quite proud of. The soup from the Chuka Soba is mixed with ketchup and other sauces to make the restaurant’s original topping that sets it apart from other katsu-don. It comes in a mini size, so you can enjoy many different dishes at once.
6. Torisoba Ota [Kencho-dori Station]
Torisoba Ota is a ramen restaurant that's just around a minute’s walk from Kencho-dori Station. You'll be able to spot it by the indigo blue noren (curtain hung outside Japanese restaurants) hanging at the entrance. The restaurant only has counter seats, and the proximity to the staff gives it a comfortable, homey atmosphere.
Their signature dish is the Shio Tori Soba (salty chicken soba) (Half Size: 550 yen, M: 670 yen, L: 820 yen). The dashi for the chicken soba is made using chicken meat, and it has a lighter taste than most other ramen. The salty soup has green onions and sesame, giving it plenty of umami. The noodles are thin and a little flat. They are springy and delicious.
There’s also the Shoyu Tori Soba (Half Size: 550 yen, M: 670 yen, L: 820 yen). The sweetness of the shoyu together with the flavor of suri-goma (ground sesame) makes this an exquisite dish.
7. Bokkee Ramen [Okayama]
The “bokee” in Bokee Ramen is a word in the Okayama dialect that means “amazing”. In other words, you can eat some amazing ramen here at Bokee Ramen!
This is the Bokee Ramen (680 yen). It is known for its umami-rich tonkotsu soup. The flavor is rich and it has a depth to it. Also, unusually, they use finely chopped char siu. Mix the meltingly tender meat into the soup and enjoy.
You can also avail of all-you-can-eat kimchi here. There are lots of customers that order rice (L: 200 yen, M: 150 yen, S: 100 yen) along with their ramen. It’s a nice place where you can feel the high spirits of the staff.
If you visit Okayama, you have to eat ramen there at least once! There are so many unique flavors, you’ll definitely find one that captures your heart!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.